Posted by bob on December 8, 2022

I am really, really sick of spammers. They call on the phone. They send SMS (text) messages. They send emails to any email address that has ever been exposed on the web or that has been harvested in an attack. They abuse the “Contact us” page on websites. They advertise relentlessly on any website that accepts ads from outside agencies. In short, they are everywhere, all the time, and endlessly clamoring for your attention.

Most of these clowns are trying to cheat you. They want to sell you a (supposed) extended warranty for something you already own. They want to sell you a product that does not exist. But much of the current web or email spam is dedicated to just getting that one little click they then use to infect your computer with some horrible malware.

That malware might give them access to your machine and/or email client and contact list to allow them to continue to send more spam to more people. Increasingly, spammers are installing ransomware to hold your data hostage. They are relying on you to have failed to keep good backups.

The same internet tools that allow us to share great ideas and messages of hope are used to shout useless nonsense. Tools of rescue become the tools of cheaters, thieves, scoundrels, and useless scum. If my wife answers a phone call that turns out to be from a spammer, she sometimes asks them if their mother knows that they have become a crook. Probably doesn’t work, since the spammer’s mother might be in on the crime.

The problem with these bad people is that they ruin ethical advertising for everybody else. When I watch TV programs or YouTube, I do so with my finger poised over the mute button. (My remote controls and computer keyboards all have easy-access mute buttons.) They can make me wait for the ad to end, but they cannot make me listen.

I generally look away during any ad and read something else. And I only need to glance occasionally to see if the useful content has returned.

Perhaps the most irritating (to me) are the non-spam spammers. These are people with whom I already have some kind of commercial relationship. That means that I might have a sincere interest in hearing from them when they truly have a new and interesting product or if they were to notify me of a problem with an existing order.

Some of the biggest offenders in this category are companies which have decided that if one email a week works well to increase orders, then maybe they should send me three emails every day. “Are we there yet? No? Well, how about now? Are we there yet?” Other companies sometimes buy into the endless polling mode, where they are constantly asking you how they are doing for every minor transaction. These include asking, “How did you like your purchase of: (fill-in-the-blank)?” A bank that I am learning to despise sends a follow-up quality survey email for every ATM visit. They seem far too desperate for my approval.

Based on the questions that some companies ask in quality-of-service polls, they are clearly not interested in hearing that they might have failed in some way. They appear to only want to collect positive feedback to show their boss that they deserve a big bonus this year.

Bah, humbug, maybe I am becoming too much of a Grinch. Feel free to let me know in an email.